Monday, November 14, 2005
When the Going Gets Tough...
Such was the case this past weekend as the Sunday-morning talk shows were overrun with Republican party lackeys attempting to resuscitate Georgieboy's plummeting poll numbers. On Meet the Press it was RNC Chairman Ken Mehlman spinning the lies.
- MR. RUSSERT: Let's go through this carefully, because The Washington Post has done a fact-check analysis of some of the president's comments. "President Bush and his national security adviser have answered critics of the Iraq War in recent days with a two-pronged argument: that Congress saw the same intelligence the administration did before the war and that independent commissions have determined that the administration did not misrepresent the intelligence. Neither assertion is wholly accurate. ...Bush and his aides had access to much more voluminous intelligence information than did lawmakers who were depending on the administration to provide the material. And the commission cited by officials, though concluding that the administration did not pressure intelligence analysts to change their conclusions, were not authorized to determine whether the administration exaggerated or distorted those conclusions."
So the president had more intelligence, more data, more information than a senator or a congressman.
MR. MEHLMAN: In fact, Tim, the Robb-Lieberman commission--excuse me, the Robb-Silverman Commission looked at this and they found something very different. The president got briefed every single day. The members of Congress had access to information. The information was basically the same, except what the Robb-Silverman Commission found was that the information the president got was more dramatic. In other words, the argument here says that if somehow they saw what he saw, they wouldn't have believed the case for war was made. In fact what the commission who looked at it found out was the opposite was true, which was that the evidence for war was more dramatically presented to the president than it was to Congress...
On CNN Late Edition with Wolf Blitzer, it was National Security Advisor Stephen Hadley doing the deception dance.
- BLITZER: The president was very forceful on Friday in defending his record and going after Democrats and other critics of the war in Iraq. But when all is said and done, it's the president of the United States who was responsible for that bad intelligence on weapons of mass destruction that led to the war.
HADLEY: The president made clear yesterday -- on Friday that he took responsibility for the difficult decisions that he had made. He also made clear that he made those decisions on the basis of intelligence which reflected the best collective judgment of the intelligence community. This was intelligence that had been developed over a period of over a decade.
It was roughly the same intelligence that the Clinton administration saw. They drew the conclusion that Saddam Hussein was a threat to peace, that he had weapons of mass destruction. They acted against him militarily in 1998. It was the same intelligence that other world leaders had that led them to conclude that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. It was the same intelligence that 77 members of the Senate relied upon in authorizing the president to use military force in 2002. So this was a collective intelligence judgment. It was relied on by the prior administration and other world leaders, the Congress, the president of the United States. Turns out we were wrong.
But I think the point that we need to emphasize here was, allegations now that the president somehow manipulated intelligence, somehow misled the American people are flat wrong. They were looked at by the Silberman-Robb Commission, they were looked at by the Senate Intelligence community -- Committee. Both of them concluded that there was no manipulation of intelligence.
And just in case that wasn’t enough, the White House web page got into the act of spreading the bullshit.
- ...Congressional And Independent Committees Have Repeatedly Reported No Distortion Of Intelligence
The Robb-Silberman Commission Finds "No Evidence Of Political Pressure." "These are errors serious errors. But these errors stem from poor tradecraft and poor management. The Commission found no evidence of political pressure to influence the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments of Iraq's weapons programs. As we discuss in detail in the body of our report, analysts universally asserted that in no instance did political pressure cause them to skew or alter any of their analytical judgments. We conclude that it was the paucity of intelligence and poor analytical tradecraft, rather than political pressure, that produced the inaccurate pre-war intelligence assessments." (Charles S. Robb And Laurence H. Silberman, The Commission On The Intelligence Capabilities Of The United States Regarding Weapons Of Mass Destruction, 3/31/05, Pg. 50-51)
So, you might ask, what’s the problem? The problem is, as has been pointed out numerous times in numerous places, that in each and every case the Robb-Silberman report is being misrepresented. The charge being refuted (albeit pathetically) by these inept attempts from the White House is that the administration misled the public by manipulating or misusing the intelligence. But the “evidence” being used to do the refuting, the Robb-Silbermann report (aka - The Commission on the Intelligence Capabilities of the United States Regarding Weapons of Mass Destruction) clearly states:
- Finally, we emphasize two points about the scope of this Commission's charter, particularly with respect to the Iraq question. First, we were not asked to determine whether Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. That was the mandate of the Iraq Survey Group; our mission is to investigate the reasons why the Intelligence Community's pre-war assessments were so different from what the Iraq Survey Group found after the war. Second, we were not authorized to investigate how policymakers used the intelligence assessments they received from the Intelligence Community. Accordingly, while we interviewed a host of current and former policymakers during the course of our investigation, the purpose of those interviews was to learn about how the Intelligence Community reached and communicated its judgments about Iraq's weapons programs--not to review how policymakers subsequently used that information.
The White House is counting on the American public not paying attention to this little three-card monty scam they’re running. The Robb-Silberman report indicates that there was no pressure from the White House on the intelligence agencies. It makes absolutely no claims, whatsoever, as to what the White House did with the unpressured information.
So why would the White House run this little misdirection scheme? Why would they use non-evidence as evidence? I know of only one reason to lie and that’s because the truth makes you look bad.
Sidenote - Now that my little Blogger problem is fixed, I hope to be a little more consistent with my posting. For the record, Blogger was very polite and extremely helpful even if they seemed rather slow.